Césaria Évora

A decade or so ago, we were lucky enough to find ourselves on a beautiful Alden sloop in the British Virgin Islands. Our second evening, we anchored in a secluded shallow bay, and as the dark came down after dinner and the drinks were being handed around, the captain put on a CD. What a wonderful place to be introduced to this wonderful voice and this plaintive song.

Césaria Évora is Cape Verdean, and she sings in Kriolu, the language of her islands. This song, and many of the others she sings, are called morna, songs of sadness and longing. “Sodade” means something like a combination of melancholy, nostalgic, and homesick. It is apparently a characteristic of Cape Verdeans, who come from a home most of them leave.

On line, I found this approximate translation of Sodade’s words:

Who showed you this way?
This way to São Tomé?

I miss my home,
my home of São Nicolau

If you write to me
I will write to you.
If you forget me
I will forget you…
until the day
of your return.

Here’s a bonus…my other great Évora favorite, Xandinha:

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